That last day feeling. Everyone knows it. The last day of Mardi Gras. The last day in Cabo. The last day of Spring Break. Day 10 is that day. You heard it here first, if you mix Mardi Gras, Cabo, and any other incredible spring break vacation together, you get the 10-Day Panlizr Experience (as long as you add not sleeping, junk food, HTML, a smelly room, and a really awesome blogger).
But that last day feeling, it’s both good and bad. On the one hand, you get to go back to your normal life. You can sleep. Eat healthy. Sit and wait while everyone tells you how great the thing you just made is. On the other hand, it sucks. It sucks because it also marks the end of an adventure. The long nights, the fights, the doubts, and frustrations inevitably made the 15 of us closer than anything else could have.
We have now sent Panelizr out into the world- just like the parents driving home after move-in day at college. We know we will still get nagged for money and be the first one called if there is ever any trouble, but for the first time, things are in large part out of our control. It is now up to the outside people following SXSW to make the most of Panelizr. The rest of us can just sit back and relax- and by relax I mean constantly tweet about our site as we pray that it won’t go down.
It won’t be until after SXSW is over that we’ll know for sure the impact of our creation. More than likely, we will all be hired by Google, Apple and Facebook to huge salaries with big signing bonuses. We will each have our our own, individual panels at next year’s SXSW that can only be sorted through by using the official panel organizer of the event, Panelizr. My blogging career will really take off while Ernesto debuts on the surfing world tour and Heather opens up her own bakery. Mike Rozycki will be playing a video game about his own life while Jake and Bryan ride on roller coasters that they themselves designed. Sybil will host her own radio show as Claiborne’s art exhibit gets ready to go on display at the Smithsonian. Raj and Greg will star in the number one music video on the charts (mixing dope Northeastern beats with sweet Indian flare) while Yvonne finally gets declared the overall winner of Farmville. Jeff, Rachel, and Runde will each play themselves in the box office hit Panelizr: The Movie, directed by our own Schuyler Hunt after he didn’t get cast for the role of himself (given to Zach Braff).
However, in the unlikely event that none of these things end up happening, the bottom line will remain the same. After 10 days, a lot of soda, and many, many hours spent in the same room with the same people, the first year Creative Technologists at the Brandcenter made something awesome, from scratch, for SXSW (and are much better friends because of it).
This was the story of Panelizr.
At approximately 7:23 Tuesday night, the US Space Station, the Space Shuttle Discovery, and the interweb sensation Panelizr were all visible in space. This once in a lifetime phenomenon lasted only three minutes before the entire world was once again deprived of this miracle. Fortunately, this blogger not only captured a photo (below), but also caught some video footage (to follow) of the Panelizr crew seeing this phenomenon.
The rest of Tuesday was typical. Some freak outs. Some break downs. But ultimately, most of the crew got an early night’s sleep. Big day Wednesday (Day 10)- last day before launch and last night before the big after party. The party will provide the much needed opportunity for certain members of the Developement team to make their “move” on certain members of the Branding team. Panlizr makes magic happen.
I got 99 problems but a glitch ain’t one.
Having a child can’t be easy. I wouldn’t know but I’m sure that if it were to compare to anything in this world, it would be making a Panelizr.
A little over three weeks ago, the idea of Panelizr came up. You always talk about making a Panelizr. It’s something you want- but something you put off until you’re at a point in your life when you’re ready to buckle down. Free time will become a luxury of the past and the next time you have your life to yourself again is when Panelizr moves out.
Still, Matthew Runde, Rachel Mercer, and Jeff MacDonald gave birth to a Panelizr. They went through the intense two week pregnancy process while the rest of us worked on our own things. But after a difficult labor process, we all joined the family to help in the 10 day maturation process. At day 1, we had a technical demo- an infant that didn’t know much of anything other than it needed isotope to work and that it was very colorful. Now, at the end of day eight, our little baby has almost become a man.
The Development team made sure that he not only knew how to function properly in society, but that he knew how to excel. Greg Elwood taught him how to dance, even if you only have time for a 5 minute dance party. Jake Mitchell taught him how to have a cool “West Coast” vibe in an “East Coast” city. Schuyler taught him how to play ping pong when he should be working. As for Ernesto and Raj, they made sure he was trilingual.
The Data Entry team made sure he knew everything he needed to know about South by South West. Not stopping there, Yvonne Allen also taught him how to master iTunes while Mike Rozycki taught him how to at least sound well informed about everything.
Bryan Callison, Heather Klein, and Claiborne Buckingham made our Panelizr sexy. They were the kids in high school who took our little boy and converted his wardrobe from cargo shorts and oversized T-Shirts, to skinny jeans and slim fit button downs. One day he was just a big P with a purple background and the next he was the hot new sexy thing on the internet (that had a logo that in no way resembled Blackberry).
Finally, the social media team taught our Panelizr how to have attitude. This not only meant how to use Twitter and facebook, but how to complain about things on tumblr. Sybil taught him how to always be in a good mood, and this blogger taught him how to love.
Wednesday Evening, we send Panelizr out into the world. Fingeres crossed, he has learned enough.
As I was leaving school on Saturday, you can imagine how excited I was to see “soft lunch” on the Panelizr schedule for Sunday. What exactly is a “soft lunch?” Maybe soft tacos? Soft shell crabs? Picnic lunch where we all sit on pillows? My mind wandered all Saturday night and well into Sunday morning.
However, come Sunday’s meeting time at 3pm, a harsh reality set in: Soft Launch does not equal Soft Lunch. Everyone was disappointed. Like clockwork, mother nature chimed in with a huge thunderstorm and the war room once again became dark and dreary. Food was running low and the smell in the room continued to get worse. While it was hard for us to notice the aroma while we were working, the sweet smell of sweat, nerd, and Chipotle was very obvious to any visitors who stopped in.
Lucky for us, none of our followers on the interweb know what the war room smells like (until they read this blog post). They only see the sexy, new and improved Panlizr branding that took over the web on Sunday. The new sleek look came courtesy of the hard work done by Bryan “Harley4Lyfe” Callison, Heather “I Wear Calvin” Klein, and Claiborne “These Boots are Made for Walkin” Buckingham. At least now, one thing is guaranteed: Panelizr will look fresh.
The soft launch scheduled for later that night was the next big step in bringing what was once jut an idea, to life. Early in the afternoon, while the database was connected, we would have had to shut down the rest of the internet to load all 1,600 SXSW panels. As the development team chugged away, Jeff “Apple Store” MacDonald (appropriately dressed in his Apple Store apparel) had a brilliant idea of how to get CTs working at maximum potential: play Star Wars. As you would expect, live quoting was continuous and the eternal debate lived on… would you rather have a stormtrooper suit or a Han Solo Carbonite coffee table?
While that debate will never end, we did learn something very awesome by the end of the night. Panelizr works. Not perfectly. Not always smoothly. But after a long day of work by the dev team, an alpha version of our site is up and running.
And it’s awesome.
It would be nice if Panelizr was the only thing in our lives. However, this is not the case. Sleeping was the first thing to go. Then eating. And finally, any semblance of a social life. Realizing this, the project managers took the shackles off our ankles and let us out into the real world for the weekend. No scheduled meetings. No periodic beatings. No more AMPs for Schuyler “The Circumstance?” Hunt. Rachel “Hermione” Mercer even traded in her steel-tipped whip for a beer, and the de-stressing began.
Some, like “el Jefe” Campabadal and “these boots are made for walkin” Buckingham, aimed to get as far away from Panelizr as possible- not ony getting out of the war room, but getting out of Richmond and out of VIrginia all together. Scents of Panelizr have been traced as far away as Northern Virginia.
Klein relaxed over a box of Krispy Kremes and Rozycki took the opportunity to do as many voiceovers as possible. Raj “The Prince” Kuppuswamy danced to Michael Jackson and Matthew “First Year Creative Technologist” Runde danced to nothing at all. Greg “Gory” Elwood ran as fast as he could out of the war room and started coding again in the Brandcenter basement. Robot freedom. Many others joined Mercer in her libations. Some over one beer. Others over ten. This blogger sat by the fire and read poetry.
While I may make it seem like Friday marked the start of a Double Rainbow, it didn’t. There is still a ton of work to be done and deadlines to meet. Over e-mails, beers, or HTML, meetings were still going on. If fact, not that much changed at all. Just locations. But come Sunday at 3pm, everyone is to report to the war room once again. Shackles back on.
Panelizr Social Network parody.
Jake “son of a” Mitchell is a dead man.
There’s a good reason why towns only have one sheriff. Same reasoning that countries only have one dictator and why the Panlizr team only has one videographer. You know the old phrase, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Well that’s the diet version of “if you have a super awesome video guy with a sweet iPhone capturing incredible footage for your blog, don’t bring your stupid flip cam and try to start a rival blog.” No ill feelings towards flip cam or the blogosphere, just Jake Mitchell.
Now that I got that off my chest, some big things happened Thursday. Namely, CTs finally conquered infinity. An unlimited pile of data was slowly chipped away at by Mike “voiceover” Rozycki, Matthewe “First Year Creative Technologist” Runde, Rachel “Hermione” Mercer, and Yvonne “not Tim” Allen. After four days of no sunlight, fresh air, and human interaction, we finally let them leave the war room.
"Panelizr is better than Google and Facebook combined!"
"I’m more excited for this than Christmas"
"The Panelizr tumblr blog is the golden gem of the internet."
"Who is the secret blogger Seacrest? I love him/her."
You can’t make that stuff up. The people have spoken.